Predatory Marriage — Chapter 89. The Blood Of A Wolf (2)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Despite her refusal, Ishakan lifted a grape to Leah’s mouth, teasingly tracing it over it her lips until she finally conceded and accepted it. He was impossible. But the grape was sweet and delicious, and she held it on her tongue for a moment to savor it. As soon as the first was gone, Ishakan was pressing another on her, and this time she refused, and meant it. Fortunately, he desisted.
“Then drink some tea.”
Nudging a cup of hot tea toward her, he bent his head to his own meal. She was so used to pecking at her food, it was strange to see someone eat with such appetite, working steadily through each dish on the tray, one after another. As he shifted another plate over, Leah cried out a protest.
Ishakan looked up in surprise, a palm date halfway to his lips. His eyebrows lifted.
“Just…not those,” she said awkwardly, her face heating. The last thing Ishakan needed to eat was food that boosted his stamina. He humored her without requiring a further explanation, and she scanned the tray for any other dangerous dishes. If they ate together again in future, she would have to keep a wary eye out for hazardous foodstuffs. Anything that enhanced Ishakan’s energy would ultimately have the opposite effect on her.
Pushing the tray aside, he poured himself a cup of tea.
“You don’t have to worry about Count Valtein. He’s being treated well here.”
That was one of the things she had wanted to ask him earlier, so she was grateful for the reassurance. Ishakan looked at her, and then spoke again.
“And… I’m sorry I surprised you last night.”
Leah’s face burned. It was the subject she most wanted to avoid. Shifting her teacup to hide her face, she forced herself to ask.
“What… What happened to you? It was so strange…”
“Have you ever seen a dog m@te?”
No one else would have dared to ask the Princess of Estia such a question. Ishakan frowned as she shook her head. For a moment he looked troubled, as if he were searching for the proper words.
“I hope you have heard, at least, that Kurkans carry the blood of beasts. I possess the blood of a wolf. That is how beasts act when they reproduce.”
Leah pictured a wolf, dark brown and golden-eyed, like Ishakan. Unable to resist her curiosity, she asked, “Can you turn into an animal?”
Hearing her pose the absurd question so seriously, he burst out laughing.
“No. We don’t have that talent, princess.”
People called them abominations. Leah saw that knowledge in Ishakan’s eyes, the word drenched in bitterness. So little was known about Kurkans in the outside world, leaving their culture, customs, and history open to speculation. Most had heard that they had the blood of beasts in their veins, but nothing more was certain.
Leah had tried to investigate further. Most of the people on the mainland despised the Kurkans as barbarians, so even scholars had never taken an interest. It was difficult when she wanted to understand them, and not just as leverage for negotiations. The more she learned, the more curious she became about the country of Ishakan’s birth, the culture to which he belonged, the people that he led.
She wanted to know more about Ishakan.
Once she realized the dreadful direction her thoughts were heading, she swiftly cut them off.
“You should be thankful I don’t turn into a rampaging beast,” Ishakan was saying. “It would be hard for you to handle, princess.”
Of course, he had no idea what she had been thinking, and she pretended calm, shifting the conversation.
“The important thing is the slavers,” she said. “I have to address the root of the problem.”
The slave traders were dead. No nobles of high status were included on the list of casualties, but nobles considered slave auctions vulgar, and sent representatives instead of attending themselves. No one would object now. No one would want to draw attention to the event.
But of course, that wouldn’t change public opinion, which would remain hostile to the Kurkans.
Ishakan chuckled softly, setting down his teacup. Leah’s cup was still almost untouched.
“Will there be negotiations when we get back?” She asked.
His eyes closed. Kurkans had an ingrained thirst for victory.
“The thought excited me so much, I could hardly sleep, princess.”
“You’re not answering me,” Leah said, avoiding his eyes as they slitted open.
She had asked the question without expecting much. Ishakan might have said anything. But he exceeded her expectations. He dropped his bombshell lightly.
“The princess is very excited.”